Suspects caught in illegal killing of doe

Operation Game Thief, Mule Deer Foundation play r

KINGMAN, Ariz. - The Arizona Game and Fish Department has cited two individuals for illegally killing a mule deer doe in October.

The doe, killed with a single shot to the neck and left to waste, was poached on Oct. 25 in Game Management Unit 18A just south of Seligman. A reward of up to $1,000 was quickly posted and one individual can potentially collect the entire amount.

The department's Operation Game Thief (OGT) program posted a reward of up to $500 upon arrest, and the Mule Deer Foundation matched that amount pending conviction.

The reporting party used the OGT Web submission option instead of calling OGT.

"Many people are familiar with the OGT telephone hotline, but not many know about the Web submission option," said Jes Antolik, investigator with the Game and Fish Kingman office. "This option provides yet another avenue for people to help us solve poaching cases such as this."

Game and Fish officers responded to the scene and collected evidence and interviewed two suspects.

Mario Avalos, 58, from Winslow, pleaded guilty to taking of wrong sex, possess unlawfully taken big game, and waste of game meat. His fines totaled $1,200.

The case against Hugh Campbell, 22, of Seligman, is pending. He has been cited for waste of game meat, taking of wrong sex, and possess unlawfully taken big game.

Both men face potential civil sanctions from the Game and Fish Commission of no less than $1,500 and the potential to lose hunting and fishing privileges for up to five years.

Antolik added that it is gratifying to have public support in helping solve these types of cases.

"We've had a number of poaching cases in Region III this year," he said. "It feels good when the system works this well. We need the eyes and ears of sportsmen and women, and concerned members of the public to provide information that helps us solve these cases.

"This isn't just about poaching one deer. This is theft from all the citizens of Arizona. It's not just one doe that was lost; it was all of her future offspring."

Antolik explained that calling the OGT hotline, or using the Web site, is always the best method for reporting wildlife violations.

"It's important people understand the avenue to report such violations is through Operation Game Thief," Antolik said. "We can't ensure anonymity when calls come into a regional office or at headquarters in Phoenix. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous when reporting a violation must go through OGT."

Anyone with information regarding a wildlife violation should call the OGT hotline at (800) 352-0700. Web submissions can be reported via the Internet by going to www.azgfd.gov/thief.

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